The Australian Communications and Media Authority is celebrating 4 million listings on the national Do Not Call Register amid warnings that hundreds of thousands of people who have previously signed on to the Register will soon be re-targeted by telemarketers.
Advocacy group Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has warned of a loophole in the register which results in registered phone numbers expiring after three years.
“The flood gates to intrusive and unwanted telemarketing calls are about to open for millions of people who are unaware that their telephone number is about to be kicked off the Do Not Call Register”, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) chief executive officer, Allan Asher, warned in a statement.
The issue stems from the Telecommunications (Do Not Call Register) (Telemarketing and Research Calls) Industry Standard 2007, which limits registrations on the Do Not Call Register to three years.
The standard first took effect on 31 May 2007 and numbers which have not been re-registered by May 31 will be re-opened for use by telemarketers.
To address the issue, ACCAN is calling for the re-registration requirements to be removed from the register.
“Immediate action needs to be taken to close the little known and ill-conceived loophole that limits registrations on the Do Not Call Register to three years,” Asher said.
“Forcing consumers to re-register their number is nonsensical. The renewal requirement was never a well-thought strategy in the first place and puts Australia behind international best practice.”
According to ACCAN, research by the ACMA showed just 25 per cent of those who placed their number on the Do Not Call Register knew that their registration was valid for three years, and only 15 per cent knew they could re-register anytime before their registration expired.
ACCAN’s call comes as the Federal Parliament considers changes to the Do Not Call Register legislation and the May deadline approaches for the expiry of more than 1 million numbers first listed in the database.
ACMA chairman, Chris Chapman, said the regulator was aware of the issue and reminded those who had already registered their phone numbers to re-register their numbers this year.
“A phone number remains listed on the Do Not Call Register for three years until its registration expires,” he said in a statement. “Very importantly, this means registration needs to be renewed after three years or your number will drop off the register and you may start receiving telemarketing calls again.”
One in three Australian households or 4.1million numbers are currently on the Do Not Call Register, according to ACCAN.